Friday, February 6, 2009

That's Astronomical!

As a boy I used to have a recurring nightmare where my mind was forced to comprehend the size of infinitely large objects. I hated those dreams! The human mind is not programmed to comprehend infinity.

The United States' government is currently attempting to pass a $900 billion dollar stimulus package. In some minds it will be a nightmare if it doesn't pass, in other minds a nightmare if it does. Let's try to comprehend together what $900 billion represents in different units of measurement.

Time

If each dollar of the stimulus package were a second of time, then $900 billion would equal

15 billion minutes,
250 million hours,
10.4 million days, or
28,538.8 years.

If I lived that long I wouldn't die until the year 30,519--move over Methuselah, you spring chicken!

Weight

$900 billion is equal to 90 trillion pennies.

The combined weight of 90 trillion pennies is 225 billion kilograms (kg)!

That's the equivalent of

2.25 billion people my weight (100 kg), or

41,246,562.8 average male African elephants!

Distance

90 trillion pennies set end-to-end would extend for 1.7145 billion kilometers,

Or enough distance to circumnavigate the earth at its equator 42,780.15 times;

That's equal to 11.46 Astronomical Units (AU), or 11.46 times the earth's distance from the Sun.

That's further away from the Sun than the planet Saturn.

90 trillion pennies stacked on top of each other would be

139.5 million kilometers or .93 AU, almost the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Conclusion

We could consider more but I have other things to be doing. Any way we figure it, though, $900 billion is a lot.

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